MARTIAL ARTS‎ > ‎Interviews‎ > ‎

Gary Grant Jr. interviews James T. Martin Sr.


I remember Master James T. Martin Sr. from when I was a child competing.  To an eleven year old he seemed ancient at the time.  As a 16 year old I remember when he told my father that he liked my aggressive fighting style.  When I got the opportunity to sit down and interview him for this story, I wasn’t sure weather I should stress his good points or focus on some bad moments.  What I decided to do was to let him tell his story.

 

The man recently turned 70 years old on May 21, 2007 and still regularly competes on the karate circuit.  Twice in the past 7 years he won the fighting grand championship at my tournament, regularly fighting guys’ a third of his age.  I once witnessed him fighting with a broken foot just three weeks after he had had a heart attack. His school is thriving with about 75 students in the average summer and over 100 in the winter and he is still the director of the Keystone State Games along with his wife Pat. 

 

As a child he tells the story of how he would lay in a baseball field looking at the stars and he set two goals for himself.  One, to fight in a war and two, to fight the heavyweight champion of the world.

 

At age 15 he joined the Marines; they quickly figured out his age and threw him out.  Three weeks later he joined the Army with a forged birth certificate.  Why?  He wanted to go to Korea. 

 

Six months after joining the Army he was standing in line volunteering to go over seas.  The guy at the front of the line had to stamps.  One was a J for Japan and the other a K for Korea.  When the guy lifted the J, Martin grabbed his arm and said K!  The guy told him he was nuts and stamped it K.  Martin was headed to war!

 

While in Korea he once got a call from his family and had to travel down to Seoul to take the call.  When he got on the phone his brother told him that he thought that he was dead because he hadn’t heard from him. He told his brother to stop calling him because he was having the time of his life.

 

While in Korea he got beat up by a barefoot Korean guy who never through a punch and that lit a fire in him that would later lead him to Judo and then to Karate when he returned to the States.  He tried Judo at the YMCA and he described it as back breaking. His brother and father stuck with it but he moved on. John Karam, now a minister at the Cerian Church down the road from his school, was his first karate instructor.  He was impressed by Karam who dazzled the kids at the YMCA with his flying kicks.

 

Master Martin is a member of the “PA Sports Hall of Fame” and just two weeks before I wrote this story, I had the pleasure of inducting him into my “GMA Open Hall of Fame” at my annual tournament.

 

Please state your name for the record.

 

James T. Martin Sr.

 

How old are you sir?

 

Seventy

 

How old were you when you started the Martial Arts?

 

I was 32 or 33.  I was old when I started.

 

Who was your first karate teacher?

 

John Karam

 

Was he older or younger than you?

 

Younger, younger, they were all younger.  Jim Junta was in his 20’s a college kid, I was in my 30’s.  You’ve heard of Junta?

 

O yes, sure.

 

He was pretty much self taught.  He would learn a kata the night before and then go out and win the grand champion the next day.  He would run 5 miles before coming to practice, he was obsessed!  Now he is a marathon runner, a doctor and he wrestles, can you believe that?

 

Are you obsessed with the Martial Arts? 

 

Yes, I do it every day of my life.  Every where I go I am recognized for what I have done in the martial arts.  I am the old karate guy my wife is a teacher and they call her the karate girl.

 

What does the word martial art mean to you?  Is it a Hobby, a sport, a way of life?

 

It is a way of life.

 

How often do you work out? 

 

Every day.  I get up at 6:00a.m. and lift weights every day before I go to work.

 

At 70 years old, do you still have goals, plans for the future?

 

 Sure, I still have goals. I still want to fight the top guys out there.  I only get to fight the young guys after I fight in the old guy divisions.  They are not going to throw me in with the 21 year olds.

 

I know in the last 5 or 6 years you have won the grand championship at my tournament at least twice.

 

Well yes, there it is right here.

 

(Laughing)  I see the dragon award right there behind you.  Often you were quite literally fighting guys that were a third of your age.  Is their any fear going into a match like that.

 

None what so ever.  Honest to god you can believe me or not but from the time I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed there is no fear.  I am the crime watch in my neighborhood; they all know if you screw around I am going to come gunning for you.  There’s a convicted criminal that lives in my neighborhood, I know him, and I used to train him.  So when he moved in to my neighbor hood I went to every neighbor and said you have a convicted criminal living right next door to you.  So, a lot of people moved out.  I went to him and I said, I told everybody about you, the first thing stolen in this neighborhood, I am going to come looking for you.  I had him twice up the county in irons.  One night he escaped the sheriffs and called me.  I told him to give himself up.

 

He escaped and he called you?

 

Yes, he called me.  I said give yourself up.  This is the second time you got away over the fence, the third time; they are going to shoot you.   He is out now but he will be back in, he has got 3 kids and comes from a pretty prominent family but he will be back in.

 

How does someone who comes from a prominent family end up like that?  And how can martial arts play a roll in that?

 

If I had him down here, I had him when he was a kid, he was perfect, and if I had him down here I would be on his butt all the time.  I make it my business to know what you’re doing when you’re in my school.  I drove a bus for 33 years and I knew what those kids were doing.  I loved that job too.  Someone said to me in October, have you ever thought of becoming deputy sheriff?  I said no, no.  But I went down and got the application and took the test and I got it.  Now people ask me how do you like your job Mr. Martin  and I say don’t call me Mr. Martin call me Jim, you show me to much respect, don’t show me that much respect.  I tell them I love my job.  I want the jobs that no one else wants.  They told me I have to go to school for six months and I said ok, I’ll go to school.  If I am going to drop dead then I am going to drop dead.  I have already been dead, twice in one day.

 

Tell me about that, how long ago was that?

 

Three years ago.

 

Ok, so you were 67?

 

Yep. I was on a bicycle during the week at the YMCA and I got terrible chest pains.  I thought it was from some heavy benching (he can bench press 200lbs).  So I got of the bike and sat down and it went away.  That Sunday I was on a bike on my porch and all of the sudden I got a pain across my chest, through my shoulder and down my arm.  I was in the Fire Department for 27 years; I drove the ambulance, I knew what was happening.  I walked in the house and my wife was on the computer, I told her I got about 20 minutes and I am going to be dead.  I said I was having a real bad heart attack.  She said I’ll drive you to the hospital.  I told her I’d be dead before we got there.  She called the paramedics and shut the heat of and all that stuff.  Luckily there were paramedics at the end of the drive way, they were visiting a neighbor.  The lady was crying, I knew her, so I tickled her on the chin and I said I will be ok, the next thing you know, and I was dead.  They said after I was beyond cpr so the hit me twice with the difibulator and my heart started back up.  I got to the hospital and it stopped again, they hit me again and it started back up.  I had a 98% blockage in the main artery.  I had a 58% blockage in the other side.  When we got to the hospital my son was there, he works in cardiac.  The doctor, Dr. Petoskey put 2 stints in and I have been perfect ever since.  That same doctor lost his own son to a fatal heart attack.

 

How do you feel now?

 

I feel great.  No aches and no pains.

 

You mentioned benching, how much do you bench?

 

O god I can only do maybe 200.

 

At 70, that may be a record.  (Laughing)

 

I have two houses and gyms in both houses; I stick mainly to the universals and the tread mills.  No matter where I go, I am working out.  I just lost 17 pounds through a diet.

 

Good for you.  Tell me about your family growing up.

 

My father was murdered.  He was beaten to death in 1965.  He saw a fight about two or three nights before it happened.  A guy was beating another guy with chains. He got involved and took the chains of the guy.  Three nights later my father was in the bar up on Washington St., we didn’t get all the details but he was beaten pretty badly.  He went out and sat on some guy’s porch and hollered for help but no one heard him.  The guy who owned the porch chased him and called the cops.  The next day the cops came and got him.  We got a call from the mayor’s court and said your father is down here.  I went down and his head was blue.  He got his brains bashed in.  They had his head packed in ice and it was melting quickly, his fever was so high.  They told me to holler to him that he might hear me and come out of this, this was in ’65, no brain surgery.  I hollered until I got a headache and then I went home to rest for a half an hour.  Soon as I got home the phone rang, my father had died.  His birthday and my birthday are the same day, May 21st He always said you’ll never forget me.  He was my best friend.  He took me to the train station to go to the Army, begging me not to go.  My mom was a school teacher and she didn’t want me to go either.  I said mom I can read, write and do arithmetic, what more do I need, I am not going to college.  I’ll make it.

 

What did your father do for a living?

 

He was and auto mechanic. Top notch in his trade.  He just fell in with the wrong people, drinking was his problem.  So consequently I don’t drink and my brothers don’t drink, I’ll never get in that position.

 

What about the war appealed to you?  Why did you want to go so bad?

 

I wanted adventure, I wanted to travel.

 

Would you go to war now if you were a 16 year old?

 

In a heart beat.  I would go there now as a 70 year old.  I often think about this.  Call up the guys who were in Korea and Vietnam and ask these guys if they want to go.  How much longer do we have to go?  We know so much more than these kids.  We have had so much more training being through all that.

 

That leads me to another question I have here.  You’re too old to be doing this.  You must hear that all the time?

 

Yep, I heard it when I went for the sheriff’s job.

 

Tell me about the sheriff’s job.

 

I love every minute of it. I guard prisoners every day. I go get them and take them to court.  I know most of them.

 

When did you start that job?

 

January.

 

So, you were 70 when you started, I mean 69?

 

Yep 69 years old. And I can do anything any of those younger guys can do.  I have to go to school of 6 months.  It’s like basic training.

 

People must say, this guys nuts, I am thinking it a little bit now.  Tell me why you want to be in the sheriff’s office?

 

Cause at 70 I look seventy.  I said this when I won the Kelly Cup.  I only feel old when I look in the mirror.  Consequently, I don’t look in many mirrors.  Actually, I am 18 years old inside.  I can’t get rid of that, I don’t know why.  I will get up at 6am tomorrow and work out!

 

Who were your karate instructors?

 

John Karam, Jimmy Junta, Joe Brague.  Jimmy got me interested in tournaments and I loved them.  There was this goof down at the YMCA that I had a problem with, he was teaching karate in the dark (laughing) and people were getting injured.  Me and Jimmy threw him out and I started teaching at the YMCA.  I had 150 students because it was free.

 

So that was the beginnings of your teaching career?

 

Yep, one night I got upset with my wife and the students and I walked over to this real estate office and that was on the bottom floor of this building.  I told the guy I was looking for a space to do karate.

 

What year was that?

 

1981

 

And that’s the building we are in right now?

 

Yep.

 

How about your black belt, when did you get that?

 

1971 or 1972.  From John Karam.  I couldn’t get a black belt anywhere and John gave me one.

 

So, are you referring to politics?

 

Sort of, I don’t know what it was.  I don’t know if they thought I wasn’t good enough or they were afraid I was going to open a school or what.  When I opened this school I wasn’t trying to make money.  I opened it for me and about 6 other guys so we had a place to work out.  Sam Hyder, my son, the Moss brothers.  The rent was cheap.  We wanted a place to train and then we would compete on the weekends.  Then Eddie Biniek called me and asked me to train his sons.  I told him that this was not a school. They were my first paid students and it grew from there, people just started coming in.  I didn’t want to be tied down to a school. Once the school was going, we really started traveling.  A lot down in Baltimore.  Do you remember Karate Illustrated?

 

Hey, I am a young guy, but I do. (laughing)

 

I always wanted to make the ratings.  People said I was too old.

 

We were in region 10 right?

 

Yep, I was ranked 10 after a year in region 10 then I worked my way up to number 1.

 

At this point Master Martin hands me a copy of the July 1982 edition of Karate Illustrated and he is in fact rated number 1 in region 10.

 

That was one of my greatest achievements.

 

How about these other guys, #2 Pablo Pagan

 

Tough little guy, all full contact fighters.

 

How about #3 Sam Shockley.

 

Toughest guy I ever fought.  Last time I fought him he put me in a coma.  I beat him and he sucker punched me, caught me in the temple when I was walking away.  They thought I was dead.

 

As you talk about this, you are not really describing what goes on in karate tournaments today.  What is the difference between what you competed in 1982 and now?

 

Nothing on the hands, back then and you had to hit hard. My nose was broken five times, my sinuses are screwed up my teeth are a mess, my fingers were all broken.  I fought in the first PKA full contact matches in Baltimore, Joe Corely had it.

 

At this point Master Martin hands me a certificate with Joe Corely signature on it.  1978, Baltimore, MD PKA National Karate Championship, Semi- Pro Heavy weight sparring division.

 

They called it semi-pro and we just went out there and beat the snot out of each other. No ring just a square on the floor.

 

Just taped on the floor?  Did you wear gear?

 

No, that wasn’t around then.  Foam rubber wasn’t around then. We sometimes wore hand wraps.   I see Gary Michak every day at the court house and we laugh about how we used to fight.

 

Were the Michak brothers your rivalries?

 

No they were my friends, of course we competed against one another but they were tough fighters with lots of heart, excellent kata.  We were in the same organization under Joe Brague.

 

When did you get involved with Joe Brague?

 

O gosh….

 

Karam’s you got your Black belt in the 70’s so…

 

Brague was after Junta in 78 or 79.  That’s were I learned how to fight in his cellar in Williamsport. He turned me around from having my right hand in front to my left and he taught me the reverse punch and all those things.  That is where all my fighting skills come from.

 

 

Who else over the years had influence on your skills after Junta?

 

All the guys from Baltimore. Leroy Taylor, man he would come across the floor with his leg in the air and never stop kicking.  Garcia Davis, all the black guys down there.  The first tournament I ever went to down there was at Townsend University.  Two hundred black people and three white guys, me my son and someone else.  My son won the grand champion that day and I won two matches.  We had to fight to get out of the building.  Garcia Davis hit me so hard I had to crawl back to the ring.  He knocked me down 13 times that day with a leg sweep. The last time I fought him though, I beat him.  I just kept going back till I won.  Those guys stop in here once in a while.  One of the guys I used to fight had business up here at the children service center.  He came in and sat and watched the class.  I didn’t know who the hell he was until he took his hat off.  When I was fighting down there they told me they could have killed me at any time they wanted too.  They said I showed some guts and tenacity and wanted to learn.  They all got together and said we will teach this guy and they did.  I could call them any time and go down their and work out with them and have them come up here. They are different then people around here.

 

 How do you feel about, I mean when I was coming up through the ranks, my instructor would say we don’t associate with this one or that one, how does that play in?

 

Nobody ever told me who to talk to or who not to talk to.  I made my own decisions.  If you’re nice I talked to you if you were a piece of garbage, I didn’t bother with you.  Nenow was my biggest competitor.  He beat me up unmercifully until I caught up and started to beat him.  Now we are best friends.

 

Robert Nenow, right?

 

Yep, Bobby Nenow.

 

Where is he from?

 

Lehighton.  I saw him fight young guys over the years and just destroy them, he was so good.  After two hip replacements and a heart attack he tells me he is going to compete in the Keystone State Games this year. I said ok Bob.

 

You can’t tell him no. (Laughing)

 

Who am I to say that?  It’s the same with Miller.  Mr. Miller had no desire to compete until I started to say hey, me and you Miller, me and you. Now he lost weight and he looks good.  He wants to kick my butt.  I helped him. That means a lot to me.  Same with the referee, Null.  He tried to beat me up all the time, but I always won.  But he is a good fighter and a nice guy; we fight and laugh when we are done.

 

What is you motivation out there?

 

Winning, just winning that day.  It gives me something to feel good about.  Even if you kick my butt I go over and shake your hand and say good job.  I always walk up to young guys before a fight and say if you don’t do your best, I am going to embarrass you in front of all your friends.  You got to fight hard.  I would make them fight hard.  I wouldn’t want to take a trophy if they didn’t fight hard.  What good is it?

 

So when you’re out there with these young guys, you still want them to come at you hard?

 

O, sure, hit me as hard as you can, knock me down, do what you have to do. It’s my job if I am a teacher I should know how to deflect some of those punches and get out of you way, that’s going to help me to teach.  How can I teach a class if I can’t get out there?  I always say the guy that can’t get out there and do it, how can he teach?

 

How long does this go on? Have you said at some point, I am just going to hang this up?

 

No, No, No.

 

Maybe you want to live pain free for a while?

 

No, Never.

 

So right till the end?

 

Yes, till the end.

 

Who were the top fighters you fought or saw?  You mentioned some guys from Baltimore earlier.

 

At Dillman’s I saw Chuck Norris, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee and Eric Lee.

 

How do those guys, the stars of the show, view a martial artist?  Did they look down on them?  Specifically Muhammad Ali, I am a fan of his?

 

Dillman taught Ali, worked with him on that Jab at Deer Lake.  You ever been there?

 

I have been by.

 

He sold that camp to Dillman for $100,000 it was worth millions.

 

Yes, I read that he promised him and when Dillman called him on it years later, he said ok.

 

Ali’s wife was a black belt.  I would sit with that guy from Easton.

 

Larry Holmes?

 

Yes, Holmes I shared a sandwich with him and watched his kids fight at a karate tournament.  He is a real nice guy.  Lots of great guys.  Who is the guy that comes up to your place with the patch on his eye?

 

Tom Joerg.

 

Joerg, I think he was on the cover of Black Belt Magazine and he was mugged, they threw acid in his eyes.

 

Yes, that was in his home.

 

Yes, well I go to a tournament in Syracuse and who do I see, the guy with the patch, I had to fight him, he was a legend.  He is a real nice guy.

 

You mentioned Larry Holmes.  He was on the radio today talking about Tommy Morrison, the boxer who had aids and now he claims he does not.  What do you think of all that?

 

Well they found out he has aids again.

 

Should he be allowed to fight with aids?

 

No, come on, no, no that’s ridiculous! Why?  Who will benefit.  He will.

 

That’s funny, because that is what Larry Holmes said.

 

Holmes, great guy, I saw him training around here when he was fighting in Scranton.  Morrison, just a jerk, pretty boy who couldn’t fight that well, he had a glass jaw.  Who was that that beat him down in the corner?

 

Merciless Ray Mercer.

 

(Laughing) Yes, that guy. He beat the snot out of Morrison.  Morrison was John Wayne’s Grandson and always acted like a jerk.

 

Any Regrets?

 

No, none, met a lot of nice people.

 

What’s the biggest change in the martial arts over the years?  Your seventy, you have seen it all.

 

Respect!

 

(Laughing)  There is more now?

 

There is no respect out there.  They don’t respect the black belt; they don’t know what a master is.  People aren’t teaching that in class.  They talk back to instructors and referees.  You couldn’t do that back then.  You know yourself that you would get hammered if you did.

 

What is a good student, what does a good student have?

 

A good student has ability, understanding, respect and dedication.

 

You didn’t say that they have to be able to kick someone’s butt or be a “bad” guy.

 

No, No, I don’t want those guys here.  I had guys like that before.  I just got rid of a bunch of guys that came in for that reason.

 

That being said, are the martial arts headed in a good direction?

 

I’m not blowing your horn because you are sitting here and doing this but guys like you who are innovative, bringing new things to the area, bringing this kick boxing here, if you want to do it fine, if not, fine. No one is forcing you.  That’s all good.

 

How about the martial arts in general as a whole?  There are a lot of different things, and I always say that there are a lot of ways to be successful in the martial arts.  Did the tournament seen evolve by itself?  Are karate and tournaments the same?

 

Umm…

 

I see things now that I didn’t even see ten years ago on the circuit as far as the gymnastics go.

 

We didn’t have any of that.

 

Is that karate?

 

No, it’s gymnastics.

 

Is it good for the art?  Is it bringing people in to the schools?

 

O, sure, umm the only thing with that is the expense.  People are driving people away with the expense.  Chasing people away if you charge too much, Bruce Lee wasn’t worth $120 a month for two hours, that’s garbage.

 

I read something the other day and it said the national average for tuition is somewhere around $150 per month.

 

You come to an area like this and people don’t have money, they don’t have it.  Where they going to get the money from.  I got a family up there, a father and 3 daughters, how does he afford 150 each, even if you give him a break.  That is like 400-500 a month, the guys a mechanic, where does he get the money from?  Why should I tell him that he can come but his kids can’t?

 

What do you charge?

 

Twenty five dollars a month and say for four, 70 per month.

 

When you opened what did you charge?

 

Only $10 per month. I was never in this to make money.  I never thought I was that good; I never thought I was worth all that money.  I turn people away from private lessons because of that, I tell them come to the class its $25 per month.

 

Tell me about your top students over the years?

 

My son, outstanding at Judo and Karate, Pat my wife won everything in site, Sam Hyder, great, went on to be a good kick boxer, the Moss brothers, Joe Malone the blind guy, awesome.  Palka, Miknolva, psychiatrist, doctors, lawyers.  I am in court all day long and the lawyers come up to me and say remember me, I used to train with you.  I don’t remember but I say I do.

 

How many students have gone through here over the years?

 

Thousands! If those stairs could talk!

 

(Laughing)  Forty-two steps I counted them on the way in.

 

Yep, it’s a workout just getting in here.

 

How about your son and the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” thing, I saw the poster up stairs?

 

That was an oddity.  I was number one in the ratings and he was rated in the top ten.  We are down and Dillman’s tournament one day and he comes up to me and says “I’d like to take that rating off of you.”

 

So what you’re saying is that your son challenged you.

 

Yep, he challenged me.

 

You didn’t plan it before hand?

 

Nope. So I said, you get down that end of the line and I’ll go to the other and if we meet we will fight.

 

So is this a problem or were you both looking forward to this?

 

I was looking forward to it.

 

So we met and the referee said no, a father can’t fight his son.  I said he paid his money; I paid my money you got to let us fight!  A big discussion went on and they let us fight.

 

Who won?

 

He scored first and I scored second.  I talked all match and drove him crazy and I won by one point.  I fought him numerous times after that and he beat the crap out of me.

 

Tell me about Russia?

 

That was something, when we went to Russia…

 

Back up further than that.  It’s not just hey let’s got to Russia for a tournament this weekend. How did it all come about?

 

I saw a magazine, a big article.  “Be the first Americans to fight in Russia.”  I was fascinated. I talked to my wife and a few people, stores around here had jars raising money for us.  People sent us money.  We met Hyder and Ismail in New York City and went.  When we got there it was freezing, no heat in the stadium.  So as I am walking in they are saying old man, old man.  So I said just watch this old man kick somebody’s butt.  I won two fights in my division and Hyder went on to win the gold medal.

 

How many fighters are involved in something like that?

 

It was international, hundreds of fighters.  Pat, my wife won a gold she devastated everybody.  They gave me an award for the best technique.  They organized a 12 man team.  Hyder couldn’t fight because he got his ribs broke so I fought.  We lost by one match but I won mine, we got the silver medal!  They were calling us cry babies when the fights started, not after words.  We got to vote on if we wanted contact and I was the only one who raised my hand.  The Russians had no equipment so no one wanted to get hit.  It was like the movie the Best of the Best you went out and met your fighter and exchanged gifts.  My guy gave me a tea pot and I gave him a set of hands and foot gear. (Laughing)  So we fought contact.  I beat him, he was only 21 and I beat him with a reverse punch.  It’s exciting!  How many times do you get to do something like that?  I’ll go to my grave with people saying some good things about me.  At least they can say I tried!  I was a fire fighter for years and I wasn’t the most pleasant guy but when it came time to fight fires, I fought fires.  I drove bus for years.  Sometimes I was mean to the kids but one time I saved their lives.  We were coming down the hill and no brakes.  It was either drive over the bank into the mall or turns it up the hill and hit a car and roll the bus.  I blew the horn, told the kids to hang on and turned it up the hill.  I screamed to the guy in the car; get the hell out of the way.  The bus rolled on top of the car and then back on its wheels.  Kids still come up to me and thank me for saving there lives.

 

How do people see James T. Martin Sr.?

 

Some see me as a jerk that has been there to long and some see me as a guy that’s still out there doing good things.  I had a judge tell me he was glad I was in his court room; he knows I will do my job.  If you walk out of here tonight and five guys jump you, I will be the first one to help you out weather I get beat up or not.

 

What are the Keystone State Games?

 

That’s mine, I started that.  I went to the games and said let’s put karate in.   They said no it’s not a sport, I said what, it’s in the Olympics.  They said no that’s Tae Kwon Do.  I said come on we travel all over. They said ok but it’s not a medal sport.  But I argued and they made it a medal sport.  We started at Kisler School and it just grew.

 

What was the first year?

 

Eighty Eight or 89 I am not sure

 

I competed at Kisler in 89.

 

That is how I won the Kelly Cup.  Bob Nenow and Jim Ambrose were both national champions and I beat them both on the same day.

 

Tell us about the Kelly Cup.

 

The Kelly Cup is an award named after Grace Kelly’s brother.  He was and Olympic rower who got killed in a car accident.  The family went to the governor and started the award in his honor.  Now you win it and it sits in the governor’s office. 

 

Have any other martial artist won the award?

 

Yes, George Bierman.

 

Let’s tie up some loose ends, your style?

 

Shoto-Kan mixed with everything.

 

Your rank?

 

Tenth Degree

 

Do you want to talk about that at all?

 

I got it through fighting, I fought everyone and I tested in Baltimore with Kata’s and stuff and Bob Nenow promoted me.

 

How many tournaments or trophies.

 

Thousands I have gotten awards for getting awards! (Laughing)

 

Any with more significance than others.

 

I still have my first trophy I won for beating Jesus Rodriguez in Harrisburg. You never forget those guys.  You know I never did this to hurt anybody but I always gave 110%.  You never see me get called for contact unless it was required in full contact.

 

Where did you find the best competition?

 

Baltimore, it was a unique situation, they came from the South and North.

 

Master Martin, give me one word that describes you to finish up this story?

 

Confidence.

 

Thank You, Sir.

 

Gary, it is always a pleasure, thank you for everything.

 

As the interview winds down and we sit with his wife.  Master Martin has been talking for over 2 hours and it is 10:22p.m.  She points out that he is still very excited and energetic even after lifting weights at 6am, working all day, teaching class and talking to me for over two hours. It’s his love for the martial arts and that 18 year old inside that keeps him going.

 

 

 

 

Gary Grant is the head instructor at Grant’s Martial Arts Inc. in Plymouth, PA.  He promotes two tournaments a year, the GMA Open and the Northeast PA Competitor Classic.  He can be reached through his website at gmakarate.com.